2013-07-15 Nighttrain to Lisbon

I watched Nighttrain to Lisbon (mostly because I learned that my stepbrother was involved in one of the songs via Trio Fado) which had some nice pictures of Lisbon and some interesting aspects of living under the fascist regime of Salazar and his secret police. A terrible thing. The aspects I did not like about the movie:

The Swiss and the Portuguese speak English—and just recently having seen La grande vadrouille where you need to understand French, German and English in order to get all the jokes, this pained me. I felt the Portuguese names were getting butchered. Why did they not use local actors and provide subtitles?

I felt the movie failed the Bechdel test: The women seemed to be either objects in the possession of men—to be fought over—or listening to the men in rapt attention with an appropriately bent neck.

I also haven’t read the book.

In short, if you want to see some pictures of Lisbon and get an idea of the fascist regime in Portugal at the time, I recommend the movie.



I haven’t seen the movie, but read the book. It’s great. And even though it’s centered around the fascism in Portugal it’s more about the inner working of it’s protagonists (the teacher and the author), one looking at the stories from outside, one writing it’s own diary. Maybe that’s where that objectifying of women vibe comes from (one being old and afraid of death and the other living in a very reactionary society), this introspective probably doesn’t translate too well to the medium. And I read it 5 years ago, so take this with a grain of salt...

rorschachhamster 2013-07-15 08:29 UTC

I have the book lying around somewhere, so perhaps I will pick it up even though the movie did a bad job advertising it. I guess the occasional quotes from Amadeu de Prado’s book are supposed to invoke these moments of introspection. The cutting was too eager for this to work, I think. Compare this to how Wong Kar Wai and Christopher Doyle generate introspection in movies like In the Mood for Love or Ashes of Time, with long takes, smoke, shadows, patterns, repetitive movements, an unflinching gaze...

AlexSchroeder 2013-07-15 08:48 UTC

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